8 Project Management Tools You Should Know
Project management involves effective plans and systematic work assignments. It includes determining the project objectives, making schedules, and assigning tasks to ensure that your team can accomplish a goal. Many tools make project management more effective and efficient. Here we will introduce the commonly used ones that are incredibly useful for visualizing your project. More importantly, all these diagrams can be made in EdrawMax, an all-in-one diagramming tool, which provides professionally designed symbols and multiple easy-to-customize templates. So you can create a diagram like a Gantt chart or WBS diagram with minimal effort.
Project Management Tool - Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart can help manage projects by breaking a large project into a series of smaller tasks in an organized way. Each task has an expected time duration, presented by a horizontal bar whose left end indicates the beginning date of the task and whose right end indicates the completion date of the task. Tasks may run sequentially, in parallel or overlapping. During the process, significant events can be highlighted as "Milestones," marked by small diamond shapes.
You can recognize what the sub-tasks are and when each task begins and ends from a Cantt chart. Presenting a visual overview of the project, you can easily track the progress by seeing what should be happening at any stage in the project.
Project Management Tool - PERT Chart
The PERT stands for "project evaluation and review technique." It's a primary project management tool for planning and scheduling entire projects and tracking the implementation phase. PERT charts can also show task division, time allocation, and starting and ending dates. Unlike the Gantt chart, which uses bars to represent tasks, the PERT chart displays information as a network model that uses boxes to represent tasks and arrows to present dependencies between tasks. The layout of a PERT chart makes the relationships between activities easier to see than with Gantt charts. But the disadvantage is it can be challenging to follow when there are many complex dependencies and tasks.
Project Management Tool - Calendar
The Calendar is the date or time-based project management tool, which is the easiest to understand. It is more suitable for personal time management better to manage your daily, weekly, or monthly schedules. The outstanding part of this tool is that it has more space for adding to-do lists. It will remind you what to do every day and make sure things can be finished before the deadline.
Project Management Tool - Timeline
The Timeline is also a visual project management tool to help track project progress. With a timeline, you can clearly visualize by what time a task needs to be done. It is a more sequential way of looking at tasks over time. However, the timeline is not as popular as the Gantt chart since it has limitations in showing task dependencies and the completion state.
Project Management Tool - WBS Diagram
The WBS, also known as Work Breakdown Structure, is a common project management tool that helps visualize the scope of work by breaking a project into individual components that can be effectively scheduled. The WBS is a tree-style structure with the overall task on the top, followed by project sections and further into individual tasks. WBS examples are similar to a flowchart that has its components linked logically. The components may be explained in the text or the boxes.
Project Management Tool - Mind Map
The mind map is also a powerful tool to manage your projects. Unlike other project management tools, the mind map is less formal, yet more flexible. You can use it to break the whole complex project into smaller tasks that are easy to manage to-do lists and analyze problems. With a mind map, you can insert pictures, link files, and drill down to focus on a specific part, which other tools couldn't do.
Project Management Tool - Status Table
The Status table is an effective tool that is used to track project progress. It doesn't contain too much detail of the project duration and task relations, but with more focus on the status and complete progress. A great function of the status table is that it can include people who take charge of the task, so that project leaders can better evaluate employee performance and know who to reach when there is a problem.
Project Management Tool - HOQ
HOQ, representing the house of quality, is a quality management tool used to define the relationship between customer desires and product capabilities. It's a tool used in QFD (Quality function deployment) to facilitate group decision-making. Though it looks complicated, it's easy to create through Edraw. All the components in the HOQ, like the roof, matrix, legend box, and markers, are already included in EdrawMax. You can create a high-quality HOQ diagram without much effort.
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